Kayardild Grammar

Page Index

The content of this page was developed from the research of Dr. Nicholas Evans, Dr. Baden Hughes, Ms. Cathy Bow
and Dr. Steven Bird.


Kayardild is an agglutinating, fully suffixing, nominative-accusative language with free word order. Its unusual system of case morphology is typically considered the language's most notable aspect.


Kayardild case markings can relate an NP to a verb, or relate one NP to another adnominally (e.g. genitive case). However, in addition to these more normative case markings, Kayardild marks tense, aspect and mood on non-subjects with suffixes that are identical to case markers. This phenomenon, called modal case by Evans, seems unique to insular Tangkic languages.

Kayardild requires an unusual degree of agreement: case markings must be applied to all elements that are subordinate to the original recipient of the marking. As expressed by Evans, "case percolates down indefinitely from higher to lower constituents, with the result that in certain types of construction deeply embedded nominals (such as adnominal possessives) may accumulate up to four case suffixes."

There are also two subordinate functions of case: complementizing and "odd pivotal"(Evans, 1995:5). The complementizing function adds oblique or locative markings to each member of the subordinate clause. The "odd pivot" function marks clauses where a noun phrase switches from one theta role to another between clauses.

Kayardild also includes a second series of case markings, called verbal case by Evans, that behave like regular case markings but derive morphological verbs from nouns. However, these morphemes are considered inflectional, not derivational, because they are similar to normal cases and are semantically predictable.

Follow the path of the Kayardild data

  1. Get Started Summary of Kayardild conversion
  2. Digitize Audio: Audio page (Classroom)
  3. Interlinearize Text: IGT page (Classroom)
  4. Build Lexicon: Lexicon page (Classroom)
  5. Collect Metadata: Metadata page (Classroom)

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